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Lake Washington Boulevard (Seattle)
Lake Washington Boulevard is a Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation property that extends from the Montlake neighborhood to Seward Park, on or near the shore of Lake Washington. John Charles Olmsted (1852-1920) located it in his 1903 plan for Seattle's park and boulevard system to take advantage of Seattle's landscape, including the lake, forested parks, and views across the lake and of distant mountains. The boulevard was constructed in parts, starting with an initial section in Washington Park. More than five miles were completed in time for the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition held on the University of Washington campus in 1909, and the final segment was opened in 1917. Where possible, the roadway follows the lakeshore, but some subdivision plats preceded the boulevard and it climbs the adjacent hillsides to skirt them, and to gain views and link to parks. As the city has grown up around the boulevard, most of the forest and the clear-cuts have been replaced by neighborhoods, filling in between the numerous parks dotting its 9.2-mile length. It is an on-going challenge to maintain the integrity of the boulevard in the face of increased traffic and development, but its importance in showcasing the beauty of Seattle's natural setting is unparalleled.
File 10244: Full Text >
Miller Street Landfill, Montlake (Seattle)
The Miller Street Landfill, called the Miller Street Dump during its working life, served for more than 20 years as one of multiple dumps scattered around Seattle, often in low-lying areas. Three large dumping grounds were arrayed between the south end of today's Washington Park Arboretum and the northern shore of Union Bay: the Washington Park Dump near the Arboretum's south end, the University Dump at the north end of Union Bay, and the Miller Street Dump on the southern shore of Union Bay. The Miller Street Dump opened sometime between 1911 and 1916, closed in 1936, and for a time was part of the Arboretum and owned by the City. When the original Evergreen Point Bridge was built in the 1960s, the property was taken over by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the park-like setting, although still open to the public, is now surrounded by ramps leading to and from the bridge and is home to the famous "ramps to nowhere." As part of the SR 520 Bridge Replacement Project, the department intends (as of 2012) to remove all of the ramps currently on the property, which may in time once again become part of the Arboretum.
File 10171: Full Text >
Montlake Bridge (Seattle)
The Montlake Bridge spanning the Montlake Cut in Seattle was completed in 1925, the last-built and easternmost of four double-leaf bascule bridges that carry vehicle and pedestrian traffic across the Lake Washington Ship Canal. It is set apart from its sister bridges by both its Gothic architectural details and its mechanical design, and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1982. The Montlake span had a rough road to realization -- Seattle voters denied it funding on five occasions between 1914 and 1922, and when a $500,000 bond issue finally was passed in 1923, it was ruled void for technical reasons. The bridge went before the voters one last time in 1924, finally gaining emphatic approval. Work on the span began almost immediately, was completed in less than a year, and the bridge was dedicated on June 27, 1925. It has served ever since as the only direct link between the Montlake neighborhood and the University District. Unlike the three other vehicle bridges crossing the ship canal, the Montlake Bridge is owned and operated by the Washington State Department of Transportation and is part of the short State Route 513 that runs from State Route 520 to Sand Point.
File 10216: Full Text >
Montlake Cut (Seattle)
The Montlake Cut, between the Montlake and University District neighborhoods in Seattle, connects Lake Washington and Lake Union as part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal. When it was completed in 1916, it marked the realization of a 62-year-old idea to link the lakes with Puget Sound, creating a freshwater harbor in Seattle and a waterway connecting Seattle's shipping harbor in Elliott Bay with the resource-rich interior of King County. The canal boosted economic development on the lakes and helped reduce flooding in the Duwamish River valley (its former outlet), but it also had far-reaching environmental and cultural consequences.
File 10221: Full Text >
NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center
The Northwest Fisheries Science Center, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has been a landmark in Seattle's Montlake neighborhood since its original building was completed in 1931. The U.S. Bureau of Fisheries moved its main Pacific research lab from Stanford University to the Northwest that year, in part because the proposed Columbia River dams would require so much study. In its first decade, the Montlake Laboratory studied ways to get fish both upstream and downstream past the dams -- and continued to do so in every decade thereafter. Meanwhile, the scientists at the Montlake Laboratory also studied hundreds of other issues in the Northwest and Alaska, including North Pacific groundfish fisheries, the life cycle of the king crab, and the complex distribution of ocean-going salmon. In 1964, the Montlake Laboratory tripled in size with the addition of two new buildings. In 1970, it was placed under a new agency, NOAA, and in 1971, the Montlake Laboratory acquired a new name: the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center, which changed in 1988 to Northwest Fisheries Science Center. Today, the center employs 500 people and researches issues including fisheries management, oil spills, marine mammals, and, as always, salmon recovery.
File 10173: Full Text >
Seattle Neighborhoods: Montlake -- Thumbnail History
Seattle's Montlake is a quiet urban neighborhood located south of the Montlake Cut/Lake Washington Ship Canal and composed mainly of single-family homes with a small commercial district. Its shoreline is bordered to the west by Portage Bay, to the north by the Lake Washington Ship Canal, and to the east by Union Bay. For the purposes of this essay, on land the Montlake Neighborhood's western boundary is 15th Avenue E, its southern boundary is Interlaken Park, and its eastern boundary is the Washington Park Arboretum. Early real-estate promoters chose the name Montlake to summon up bucolic images of lakes and mountains, the better to sell lots. What had been an important transportation corridor, with several villages in the area, for Lakes Duwamish people became a placid urban neighborhood -- dubbed by one history of the neighborhood an Urban Eden. Montlake's placidity has, however, faced major challenges. Montlake's strategic geographic location has made it historically useful as a place of passage, but rendered it vulnerable to several major construction projects, including the Montlake Cut portion of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, the Montlake Bridge, State Route 520, and the new Sound Transit tunnel currently being built underneath it. The opening of Montlake Cut in 1916 led to radical changes in the neighborhood's shoreline and blocked travel to the north until the Montlake Bridge opened in 1925. Construction of SR 520 in the early 1960s doomed a large swath of the community for right-of-way, and also sliced the neighborhood in two and despoiled parts of the shoreline. Planned widening of SR 520 scheduled to begin in 2012 will bring further changes to the built and natural environments.
File 10170: Full Text >
Seattle Neighborhoods: Portage Bay-Roanoke-North Capitol Hill -- Thumbnail History
Seattle's Portage Bay-Roanoke-North Capitol Hill neighborhood is located at the far northern end of the north-south ridge that forms Seattle's Capitol, Renton, First, and Beacon hills. For the purposes of this essay, the distinct but closely related Portage Bay, Roanoke Park, and North Capitol Hill neighborhoods have been combined and their boundary is defined as the area east of Interstate 5, west of Portage Bay, and north of Volunteer Park. Development during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was spurred by the area's convenient location: close enough -- but not too close -- to downtown Seattle. Initially somewhat challenging to access, by 1906 the area had streetcar service. The neighborhood encompasses Interlaken Park, Roanoke Park, and Boren Park. It has been challenged by -- and in many ways defined by -- the incursion of the Seattle Freeway (later I-5) beginning in the late 1950s and by SR 520 in the early 1960s.
File 10180: Full Text >
Seattle Yacht Club
The Seattle Yacht Club, at 1807 E Hamlin Street on Portage Bay in the Montlake neighborhood, has been a Seattle institution for well more than a century. First founded, briefly, in 1879, its existence was somewhat tenuous and sporadic until 1892, when the direct predecessor of today's club was formed. Since merging with the Elliott Bay Yacht Club in 1909, the Seattle Yacht Club has weathered good times and bad, wars and the Great Depression, and huge societal changes. The club's true renaissance came after World War I when, with the Lake Washington Ship Canal completed, it moved to a stately new home on the eastern shore of Portage Bay, where it remains. Founded by the city's social and financial elite and exclusive by nature, the club over the years has become increasingly engaged with the wider community and today offers many services and activities to the public while constantly expanding and improving the benefits it provides to its more than 2,500 members.
File 10176: Full Text >
Union Bay Natural Area (Seattle)
The Union Bay Natural Area, located along the north shore of Lake Washington adjacent to the University of Washington's East Campus, occupies what was for many years Seattle's largest garbage dump and, slightly to the east, the site of Henry Yesler's (1810-1892) Union Bay lumber mill. The Montlake Dump (also known as the Ravenna Dump, University Dump, and Union Bay Dump and later called the Montlake Landfill) served the city for more than 40 years, and garbage and rubbish of nearly every description was poured into a marshland created by the lowering of Lake Washington in 1916. After the landfill was closed in 1966, there began, haltingly at first, a decades-long (and ongoing) experiment to determine whether, and how, land that has been severely degraded by human activity could be restored to a natural state. Now part of the Center for Urban Horticulture, the Union Bay Natural Area has become a somewhat unique living laboratory. Practicing both active intervention and benign neglect, the center, using mostly volunteers, has since the mid-1980s used the site to study land reclamation, created a protected habitat for a wide variety of plants and animals, and established an urban oasis for walkers, runners, and bird watchers. The one-time landfill today stands as an example of a successful, if yet unfinished, effort to remedy some of the environmental mistakes of the past.
File 10182: Full Text >
Washington Park (Seattle)
Washington Park, home to the Washington Park Arboretum, is located between Seattle's Madison Park and Montlake neighborhoods with its north end fronting Union Bay and State Route 520. In addition to the arboretum, its 230 acres are home to the Seattle Japanese Garden, a segment of Lake Washington Boulevard, a playfield, and playgrounds. The boulevard and arboretum were originally designed by the Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects firm between 1904 and 1939. Operation of the arboretum is a joint effort of Seattle Parks and Recreation, the University of Washington, and the Arboretum Foundation under the direction of the Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee, which consists of members appointed by the mayor of Seattle, the president of the University of Washington, and the governor of Washington. The park's location in city has subjected it to intrusions, most notably from traffic and transportation infrastructure. In 2012 the park is in the midst of major changes to its collections as it implements the 2001 Washington Park Arboretum Master Plan and prepares for changes to its landscape as the SR 520 bridge replacement project moves forward.
File 10243: Full Text >
Showing 1 - 11 of 11 results
Retreating glaciers create Puget Sound and Grand Coulee as the Ice Age ends about 15,000 years ago.
About 15,000 years ago, the Vashon glacier begins to melt and recede from lands that will come to be known as the Puget Sound region and the Columbia Basin region. By 11,000 years ago, the glacier has retreated to the border of present-day Canada. During its advance, meltwater flowing under the ice sheet had carved out Lake Washington, Lake Tapps, Lake Sammamish, Puget Sound, and Hood Canal. The other major shaper of the land -- the pushing of the Juan de Fuca Plate underneath the North American plate, and the docking of terranes (fragments of continents) had already occurred long ago.
File 5087: Full Text >
Woodin family crosses Lake Washington to homestead on Squak Slough (later called Sammamish River) in September 1871.
In September 1871, the Woodin family traverses Lake Washington aboard a scow loaded with their belongings to reach land they have claimed on the Squak Slough (later known as the Sammamish River) at the future site of Woodinville. The area around Lake Washington is then sparsely inhabited by Indians belonging to tribes that have ceded area lands to the United States and by a scattering of American settlers on isolated farms along the lakeshore. Paddles, oars, and poles will propel people and freight between far-flung settlements and Seattle until steamboats begin operating on the lake in the late 1870s. The hilly, timbered terrain surrounding the lake discourages cross-country travel, so American settlers follow the Indian custom of relying on water highways to travel in the region.
File 10185: Full Text >
Seattle Coal & Transportation Company begins operating Seattle's first railroad on March 22, 1872.
On March 22, 1872, the Seattle Coal & Transportation Company begins operating Seattle's first railroad. Established by founders of the Seattle Coal Company, it is used to carry coal from a dock on the south end of Lake Union to coal bunkers at the foot of Pike Street, on Elliott Bay. The coal arrives at the south Lake Union dock via a tortuous route from a mine in Newcastle, located near the south end of Lake Washington. Coal is transported from the Newcastle mine to the Lake Washington shore via tramway. It is then loaded into scows guided across Lake Washington by tugboats. Arriving at a strip of land called the Montlake Portage (later cut through by Montlake Cut), it is unloaded from the scows and loaded onto another tram, carted over Montlake Portage, reloaded onto barges at Lake Union, barged across Lake Union to the dock at south Lake Union, and from there, loaded onto the new railway, which carries it over Denny Hill (later flattened by regrades), roughly along the route of today’s Westlake Avenue. The railway turns at Pike Street and carries the coal to coal bunkers at the end of that street. This little railway will operate until 1878, when the Seattle & Walla Walla Railroad will arrive at Newcastle and provide a more efficient route around the south end of Lake Washington through Renton and through downtown Seattle to Elliott Bay.
File 5412: Full Text >
Lake Union Lumber and Manufacturing is incorporated on March 9, 1882.
On March 9, 1882, Lake Union Lumber and Manufacturing is incorporated. The company owns the first sawmill in Seattle that is not located on Elliott Bay and marks the beginning of the shift northward of industry that will eventually encircle the lake. At first the company mills logs from the forests surrounding Lake Union. After 1885, when the Lake Washington Canal Company digs a log canal across the Montlake Portage, a swath of land that separates Lake Union from Lake Washington, the mill, then known as the Western Mill Company, will process logs floated in from forests around Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish. Other mills along the shores of Lake Union and Salmon Bay, connected by another log canal to Lake Union, will cut lumber, doors, sashes, shingles, and other wood products. In 1916, the Lake Washington Ship Canal will replace the log canal with canals cut through the Montlake Portage (now called Montlake Cut) and between Lake Union and Salmon Bay. The Lake Washington Ship Canal can accommodate log booms and ships, and it will serve the lumber mills on the lake and bay into the 1950s.
File 10218: Full Text >
The steam scow Squak begins ferrying passengers across Lake Washington in 1884.
In 1884, the steam scow Squak
begins ferrying passengers across Lake Washington. An ungainly looking vessel, the flat-bottom boat is able to traverse the shallow Squak slough into Lake Sammamish. The Squak operates for only a few years, and in 1890 sinks in Kirkland during a Christmas Day storm.
File 10179: Full Text >
King County Superior Court approves condemnation of land along a proposed route of Lake Washington Ship Canal (later the route of State Route 520) on November 25, 1898.
On November 25, 1898, King County Superior Court approves the condemnation of land along the proposed route of the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle. The court is acting on a petition from the King County Board of County Commissioners, which was created to meet a requirement laid out by the federal government. An act passed by Congress in 1894 authorized the Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning to build a ship canal between Lake Washington and Puget Sound, once the land was secured. This is not the first, nor will it be the last right-of-way reserved for a canal, which will open in 1917, to the north of the 1898 route. During the 1960s, the highway that becomes State Route 520 will be built over land obtained in the 1898 condemnation.
File 10186: Full Text >
University of Washington Board of Regents adopts a campus plan designed by architect Carl F. Gould of Bebb & Gould on May 18, 1915.
On May 18, 1915, the University of Washington Board of Regents adopts a campus plan designed by Carl F. Gould (1873-1939), of the architecture firm Bebb & Gould. The plan adapts the Olmsted Brothers' plan for the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and retains a number of its key elements, including its outward looking vistas, the liberal arts and science quadrangles, and several entrances to the campus. Gould makes some important changes, however. He retains the northeasterly axis of the liberal arts quadrangle, but reduces its scale. At the point where the two axes of the Olmsted design meet, Gould designs a central plaza with the library as its focal point. According to architectural historian Norman Johnston, the Regents plan, as Gould's plan came to be known, created "a campus design framework based on a hierarchy of axes, spaces, and forms that continues to underlie the planning of the campus today" (Johnson).
File 10226: Full Text >
Due to construction of Lake Washington Ship Canal, Lake Washington is lowered 8.8 feet beginning on August 25, 1916, and the Black River disappears.
Beginning on August 25, 1916, Lake Washington is lowered 8.8 feet, due to construction of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, and the Black River disappears. The ship canal is being built between Lake Washington and Puget Sound. Because of the different water levels in Lake Washington, Lake Union, Salmon Bay, and Shilshole Bay, the federal government builds a double lock at Ballard and lowers Lake Washington to the same height as Lake Union, from about 30 feet above mean lower low water (the average of each day's lowest low tide) on Shilshole Bay to 21 feet. The level of Salmon Bay is raised to 21 feet behind the locks and dam at its mouth. The lowering of Lake Washington and raising of Salmon Bay causes a number of changes to the watershed, most dramatically the drying up of the Black River, which had been Lake Washington's outlet, when the lake's water level drops below that of the river-channel entrance at its south end. As a result, the way water moves through the watershed changes drastically, with environmental and human consequences.
File 686: Full Text >
Seattle City Council approves agreement between Board of Park Commissioners and University of Washington establishing Washington Park Arboretum on December 24, 1934.
On December 24, 1934, the Seattle City Council approves an agreement between the Board of Park Commissioners and the University of Washington establishing the Washington Park Arboretum. The largely undeveloped park, located between Seattle's Madison Park and Montlake neighborhoods, will benefit from the expertise of university faculty and the new entity created by the agreement, the Arboretum and Botanical Garden Committee, will serve as the fiscal agent for receiving Works Progress Administration funding for labor to clear and grade the park and to build various structures. James Frederick Dawson (1874-1941) of the Olmsted Brothers Landscape Architects firm will create a preliminary plan for the arboretum in 1936. The committee created by the 1934 agreement will continue to guide the arboretum into the twenty-first century, and a 2001 master plan will provide a new vision for managing the collections and serving the public.
File 10242: Full Text >
University of Washington Health Sciences Building is dedicated on October 9, 1949.
On October 9, 1949, the University of Washington's Health Sciences Building -- new home of the schools of medicine, dentistry, and nursing -- is dedicated on the university's Seattle campus. The eight-wing building is the first unit in a sprawling complex that will expand to include the University Hospital (now the UW Medical Center); the schools of pharmacy and public health; and myriad laboratories, lecture halls, and offices. Renamed the Magnuson Health Sciences Center in 1978 in honor of Senator Warren G. Magnuson (1905-1989), the complex in 2012 consists of more than 20 wings, all connected through a network of interior hallways, with nearly 5.8 million square feet of floor space -- making it one of the largest buildings in the United States.
File 10177: Full Text >
Washington State Legislature removes two blocks of Lake Washington shorelands, later termed WSDOT Peninsula, from Washington Park Arboretum for state highway use on March 8, 1959.
On March 8, 1959, Washington State Legislature removes two blocks of Lake Washington shorelands, later known informally as the WSDOT Peninsula, from the Washington Park Arboretum for state highway use. As work progresses on the Seattle Freeway (Interstate 5), the State Highway Department begins planning for a second bridge across Lake Washington and a connection between the freeway and an expressway the city plans to build along the east side of Capitol Hill between Empire Way (now Martin Luther King Jr. Way) and the Meadowbrook neighborhood in northeast Seattle. One interchange for this network of roadways is planned for the marshy area along the north margin of the Washington Park Arboretum. While planning for the expressway named for former city engineer R. H. Thomson (1856-1949), proceeds, the state Highway Department decides, against the city's wishes, to locate a second Lake Washington bridge between Evergreen Point and the Montlake neighborhood. Ramps between the highway and expressway are built across the marsh. When the Seattle City Council cancels the R. H. Thomson Expressway project in 1971, three incomplete ramps are left in place but unconnected to any roadway. Current (2012) plans for the replacement Governor Albert D. Rosellini Bridge (also known as the State Route 520 bridge and the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge) call for the removal of the ramps over the peninsula and possible return of the peninsula to the park.
File 10223: Full Text >